UnitedHealth names former GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty as head of Optum unit

Former GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty will become chief executive of UnitedHealth's Optum division, which includes the pharmacy benefit manager OptumRx, effective July 1, UnitedHealth announced Tuesday. Witty, who served as CEO of GlaxoSmithKline from 2008 until 2017, has served as a member of the UnitedHealth board of directors since August last year.  

UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann noted that Witty "has deep experience with how data and analytics and new technologies can be used to improve patient outcomes, better serve consumers, lower costs and drive value across the system." Wichmann added "we are deeply fortunate…to have the right person to extend Optum's momentum and lead the business in its next phase of growth." 

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Witty, who will be immediately stepping down from UnitedHealth's board of directors in conjunction with his new appointment, noted "Optum has the unique opportunity to continue improving the health care experience, outcomes and value people receive in the US and globally, and I am honoured to participate in that mission."  

Witty will be replacing Larry Renfro, who has served as Optum CEO since 2011. UnitedHealth noted that Renfro will remain with the company, where he will head enterprise growth efforts and Optum's venture fund operations, including a $100-million fund dedicated to emerging and advanced technology, data analytics and health care services companies. 

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